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If you're ever found yourself fruitlessly trying to tap away at a smartphone's touchscreen with your gloves on - you know the problem; it doesn't work. Well, problem solved. Kirk Siegler, of member station KUNC, reports on gloves that are just as smart as your phone.

KIRK SIEGLER: So consider this next time you go to update your status to brag about how good the spring skiing is in Colorado. Well, Jean Spencer says skiers' phones are getting smarter, so why aren't their gloves?

BLOCK: They want to be on Facebook; they want to stay on their email all day long. So you just have to make the clothing that allows them to do that.

SIEGLER: So Jean and her mom, Jennifer Spencer, invented a glove that makes it easier to operate touch screens on the ski slopes or in chilly subway terminals. Jennifer is introducing me to the Aglove here, at the Loveland Ski Area.

BLOCK: If you're looking at this, they're kind of black with a sparkle in them, and that sparkle is the actual silver in the glove, and it's the silver that makes the glove conductive.

SIEGLER: To illustrate, they've brought an iPad to the mountain, as you do.

BLOCK: Here I am, playing the piano.


SIEGLER: Even in this wired world, an iPad on the slopes attracts attention.

BLOCK: Right now, I'm checking my work email. I don't have any.

SIEGLER: The Spencers have handed a pair of Agloves to curious snowboarder Matthew Coleman, who they spotted clumsily taking off his gloves and trying to make a call.

BLOCK: Wow, I can click really small spaces; I have really good dexterity and accuracy.

SIEGLER: It turns out the Aglove is just one example of a growing trend toward manufacturing high-tech gloves - not just for operating personal technology devices, either. There are now sophisticated gloves for farming, gardening, baseball...


SIEGLER: Six thousand feet down the mountain, and I'm at the Park Hill Golf Club in Denver. Now, I'm no golfer, but my friend Joe Frey is.

OK. So I'm about to hand you a SensoGlove. It looks, essentially, like the glove you just put in your back pocket.

BLOCK: It does, yup - except for the computer chip on top of your hand, yes.

SIEGLER: That computer chip has a screen, and reacts to sensors in the fingers of the glove. And when Joe takes a swing, the screen tells him whether any of his fingers are gripping the club too hard.



SIEGLER: The screen shows a hand with a pinky lit up and blinking - meaning Joe gripped the club too hard with that finger, suggesting his shoulders aren't relaxed enough. But as a seasoned golfer, he's skeptical.

BLOCK: There's a hundred pieces of the swing. Your grip is one of those hundred.

SIEGLER: Joe thinks the SensoGlove may be more catered to people like Cary Zimmerman, who's been eavesdropping on our conversation behind us, on the driving range.

BLOCK: And I grip really hard, so I'm probably going to send this thing off the charts.


SIEGLER: I'm getting a lot of beeps.

BLOCK: Something like this is the nuance that could help you, you know, once you reach a certain level, get to the next level.

SIEGLER: Well, I probably have more nuances to worry about in my golf game than these two guys combined.



BLOCK: Cold dead shake right.

SIEGLER: All but one finger on the computer chip lights up like it's some sort of golf emergency. Well, even the most high-tech gloves won't help everyone.

For NPR News, I'm Kirk Siegler.



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